In 2015, the world was stunned by images of tens of thousands of refugees arriving on the shores of Lesbos, a small Greek Island. They were people escaping war, violence and crisis, risking their lives on a perilous journey across the sea in the search for a better life.  

British Artist, Arabella Dorman, is an internationally renowned portrait painter and war artist whose work hangs in high profile institutions and collections around the world. After visiting Lesbos in 2015 Doman said that “nothing compared” to what she had witnessed “I was struck by the concept of the empty garment, evoking the hidden presence of the person who had worn that item”.

Dornan createdSuspended, nowan internationally acclaimed art installation, to encourage its viewers contemplate the trauma experienced by refugees. Suspended,‘stilled explosion’ is composed of 700 items of clothing discarded by refugees as they arrived on the island.

The artwork will be on show in the nave of Leicester Cathedral, forming a striking and evocative display that has been moving audiences around the country. Described as the capital’s “most talked about contemporary artwork” (New York Times 22 December 2017) followingits first showing in St James’s Church in London’s Piccadilly.

Suspended seeks to brings these lives to our attention and remind us of the urgent need for compassion, empathy and understanding as we reach out to our fellow human beings in plight. In doing so, it is a call to re-find the common thread that binds the mosaic of life together in celebration of our shared humanity.” (Dorman 2017)

The Revd Canon Karen Rooms, Canon Missioner of Leicester Cathedral, will manage the project said:

“Suspended vividly expresses both a sense of ‘being at sea’ and exuberance of the human spirit through clothing we might easily recognise as our own”

Suspended will form part of a full programme of events coordinated by ArtReach and will be open to the public, free of charge between 20 June and 28August 2018.


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